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Universal Studios Theme Park - Orlando Florida 

Universal Studios Overview

Universal Studios Orlando Florida is after Disney World the next biggest thing in town. With Harry Potter, Jaws, Terminator, MIB, The Simpsons, Jurassic Park, Dr Zeus and many more famous names it's in a name dropping league all of its own. Big rides, big thrills and with the opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter a big theme park draw.

There are two parks here, Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter forms part of Islands of Adventure. Although the two parks are physically next to each other they are two separate parks with separate entrances and a separate feel.

Harry Potter WorldThe Universal Studios group also includes SeaWorld, Aquatica, Wet N Wild and Busch gardens, all tickets will include access to both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, with the Orlando Flex ticket offering additional parks, depending on the price.

It would be easy to think that Universal Studios and Disney World are direct competition to each other, they are after all both big ticket theme parks and are both in Orlando, however that is not fully the case. The look, feel, business model and to an extent target audience are different for each. With a Disney theme park every ride, everything that surrounds you, everything you see, hear and feel combine into one to create a continuous whole, with Universal each ride is unique, perfect in itself but not as part of an overall theme. Universal has much more the feel of a fair ground than theme park.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is an exception to this, it has much more of the Disney completeness than other areas of the park. The attention to detail is incredible, the sheer scale of it mind blowing. It is exceptionally good, and a must for any Harry Potter fans.

Purchase a Disney Ticket and that's it, other than refreshments and souvenirs your'e done on spending money. With Universal the ticket will get you on all the main rides and in all the main shows, but there are heaps of side shows and other amusements that all cost extra and none are shy of trying to attract you or the kids in.Universal Studios at Night

Both Disney and Universal are great for families and for any age of holiday makers, but that said in general Disney has more rides for younger kids and less big adrenalin rush roller coasters, and Universal is the exact opposite of this.


Getting To Universal Studios, Orlando

Universal Studios is situated between the I4 and International Drive near Orlando, access is well signed from all routes. There is plenty of parking although this costs extra. If you are staying at one of the on-site hotels then parking is free at that hotel with complementary transport to the park included.

Both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure are accessed from the same parking. Once you arrive you walk through the shops and restaurants of city walk, over the bridge and into your chosen park. Islands of Adventure is on the left, Universal Studios is straight on.

Signs and flyers situated around the entrance provide detail on ride location and show times.

There are plenty of restaurants and fast food outlets. Universal is very strict on bringing your own food and drinks into the park, bags are searched.

Staying at Universal Studios

Universal has three very good on site hotels all of which offer swimming pools, dinning, transport to the theme park and, importantly, early park admission and express ride access. The cost of a family hotel room for a night is generally less than the cost of these benefits. If Harry Potter is going to be a big part of your visit then the early admission and an hour in that part of the park without the crowds is well worth the hotel stay.

Night Life at Universal City Walk

Universal Studios has a thriving night life at its City Walk location, with restaurants, bars, music, street shows and shops there is plenty going on. Each of the hotels also has a good selection of restaurants, Mama Della's Ristorante at Lowes Portofino Hotel is very good serving a lovely selection of Italian food.